Eating right and choosing the right foods for your diet are not only important for your health in general, but are vital for your oral health, too. Did you know that vitamins and minerals that come from healthy foods can fight cavities and prevent gum disease? Making the right choices in your diet can help keep your mouth free from tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. Keeping your mouth healthy can help keep your body healthy, too!
Sugar & Food:
Sugar can be found in many of the foods we eat and is one of the main culprits for causing tooth decay and cavities. It can appear in the form of fructose, glucose, dextrose, corn syrup and even in more natural forms such as honey, maple syrup and molasses. Avoiding baked goods, candy and soda pop are all helpful in preventing cavities, but did you know that sugar is also found in many healthy foods as well? Carbohydrates and foods such as milk, bread, pasta, fruit and some vegetables all contain sugar, too. We can’t completely eliminate sugar from our diet especially as we need some sugar to help fuel our bodies and give us energy. It’s just important to make sure we are limiting sugars in our diets and we aren’t leaving any behind in our mouths!
Where Do Cavities Come From?:
Cavities form in teeth from leftover plaque in your mouth. But what is plaque and where does it come from? Plaque is a coating that forms on your teeth that is made up of bacteria and leftover food. Plaque is something that naturally forms in our mouths and while some is harmless, an accumulation of plaque on teeth can cause tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. The most dangerous plaque comes from leftover sugar in the mouth because when it mixes with mouth bacteria, it produces a mild acid that is strong enough to break down tooth enamel, softening it and increasing the risk of cavities and tooth sensitivity.
Although the body naturally produces saliva to help wash away residual food/sugar and neutralize this acid, it does not produce as much between meals, leaving behind some of the sugar to convert into plaque. Regular brushing and flossing can help to keep plaque at a minimum and prevent cavities and tooth decay.
How To Help Prevent Cavities:
- Brushing your teeth after meals and snacks is always best!
- Try to floss daily and see your dental hygienist for regular cleanings.
- Chewing a piece of sugarless gum after snacks is a great way to produce saliva and clean your teeth if brushing is not an option.
- Drinking water at snack time will help wash away any remaining food particles in your mouth.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day and try to avoid drinks that are high in sugar and acidity.
- Limit carbohydrates and sugar in your diet.
- We all love sweets! The best time to eat them is at mealtimes when your mouth contains additional saliva to help wash away any excess sugar or acid that’s left behind.